The perfect summer story of family secrets, an abandoned baby, and new romance set in Newport, RI.
Meri Hollis is happy to come home as her restoration career takes her back to her roots in Newport, RI. She can spend time with her Gran, contemplate her future with her not-so-committed boyfriend, and help restore a classic Newport mansion to its former glory. But her idyllic summer takes a turn on her 30th birthday. She did not expect to have her family’s deepest, darkest secret exposed and she certainly didn’t expect that secret to have anything to do with her…
30 years ago, Alden Corrigan was just a boy who snuck out of the house to take his father’s dinghy out on the water. But when a storm come up, he suddenly finds himself playing rescuer to a girl. A very pregnant girl. After he saves her life, the girl runs off. But not before she leaves behind a very special gift.
Now that the truth it out, there is much more at stake for the summer in BREAKWATER BAY. And Meri and Alden are thrust into situation that could prove to be the making of their futures… or the end of their friendship.
Meri Hollis dropped the paint chip into a manila envelope and rolled from her back to sit upright on the scaffolding.
She stretched her legs along the rough wood and cracked her neck. It had been a long day, first standing, then sitting, then lying on her back. Every muscle protested as she leaned forward to touch her toes, but she knew better than to start the descent before her circulation was going again.
While she waited, she labeled the newest sample, added it to the file box and placed it in a bucket which she lowered thirty feet to the floor. She flipped off her head lamp, pulled it from her head, and took a last look at her little corner of the world, which in the dim light, looked just as sooty and faded as it had twenty hours, two hundred paint samples and several gallons of vinegar and water ago.
It had been slow going. The meticulous cleaning of paint layers was never fast even on a flat ceiling, but when you added plaster ornamentation, extreme care was needed. But she had finally reached enough of the original ceiling that she was sure it had been painted in the mid eighteen hundreds.
It was exciting. Especially if what she suspected turned out to be true.
She’d discovered the first fleck of gold that afternoon. Surely there would be more. But further study would have to wait until Monday. She was calling it a day.
She stored her tools and slowly lowered one foot to the first rung of the pipe ladder that would take her to the ground floor. Work had stopped in the grand foyer a half hour ago, but she’d been determined to finish that one test section today.
She reached the bottom on creaky ankles and knees. Grabbed hold of the ladder and stretched her calves and thighs. Then she picked up her file box and tools and carried them to the work room.
Carlyn Anderson looked up from where she was logging in data from the day’s work. “You’re the last one.”
Meri deposited her file on the table and arched her back. “Now I know how Michelangelo felt. Only he ended up with the Sistine chapel and I got a sooty ceiling in a minor mansion with two hundred plus chips from twenty layers of ancient paint in various hues of ick.”
“Yeah, but just imagine what it will look like when it’s back in its original state.”
“Actually I got a glimpse of it today. If I’m not mistaken, there’s gold in them thar hills.”
“Maybe. It might be a composite. In the state the ceiling’s in, it’s impossible to tell without the microscope.” Meri pulled a stool over to the table and sat down. “Why the hell would anyone paint over a decorative ceiling from the nineteenth century?”
“The same reason they painted over the Owen Jones wallpaper with psychedelic orange.”
“Oh well, someone’s bad taste is our job security,” Meri said. “Is there someone left who can take this over to the lab tonight?” She handed Carlyn the manila envelope of samples.
“I will, but you owe me, since you’ve blown off karaoke tomorrow night. And it’s Sixties Night.” Carlyn went through several doo-wop moves they’d been practicing on their lunch hour.
“Sorry, but I promised Gran I’d come out for my birthday dinner tonight. I’m not looking forward to a forty minute ride but I couldn’t say no. And tomorrow I’m having my birthday dinner with Peter.” She yawned.
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